By MARGIE NETZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org
In a swirl of snowflakes and rhinestones, Cheyenne Fischbach held hands with fellow Miss Winterfest contestant Paige Mottley as they waited to see who would be crowned the next queen of winter.
Fischbach took the title at the end of a long and snowy night Thursday, becoming the 2013 Miss Winterfest.
“I can’t believe it,” Fischbach said. “This is so amazing!”
Pageant director Christine Harting said 34 girls competed for the pageant’s five titles. The winners will spend the year at local events, fundraising for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
The girls and their mothers prepared every hair and fingernail for the pageant early Thursday afternoon. Fischbach, who helped fellow contestant Heather Keiser with her dress just before the pageant, said she loves “the energy” of the events.
“Pageants are just a lot of fun,” she said. “The energy is awesome and it is so fun to feel pretty and get on the stage and shine.”
Julie Horvath, 13, of Geneva, went from pageant rookie to seasoned veteran in one year. She competed, and lost, the Junior Miss Winterfest title last year, but took every opportunity to perform since.
“I have been in 10 pageants so far this year,” she said. “I just love it.”
Horvath said she was “painfully shy” and full of anxiety when she stepped on the stage last year.
“I used to be really shy, but the more pageants I do, the more times I walk on stage, it just becomes less and less of a big deal,” she said. “Pageants helped me get over that shyness.”
Mom Roberta Horvath said pageants can be expensive and time-consuming, but the boost in her daughter’s self-esteem is worth it.
“You learn to be frugal and creative when it comes to the dresses and the experience,” she said.
Mom Karen Cordova sewed 6-year-old daughter Addison Cordova’s lacy pink dress for her pageant presentations.
“I am fortunate that my girls are gracious winners and gracious when they don’t win, too,” she said.
Addison won the Little Miss Winterfest crown.
But not everyone was as enthusiastic about the pageant, which began a bit late due to a missing judge. Local hairstylist Michael Riffe quickly stepped in to fill the judge’s seat, along with Nick and Carol Carlisle of Carlisle’s School of Dance in Ashtabula.
Tiny Miss Winterfest contestant Emmersyn Bales didn’t appreciate the long wait and she wasn’t shy about telling everyone, including MC Roger McCoy, all about it.
“I don’t want to do it, Grandma!” she shouted.
The evening ended on a high note as Fischbach was crowned.
The 2013 Miss Winterfest winners are: Tiny Miss Winterfest Ashlyn Thompson; Little Miss Winterfest Addison Cordova; Young Miss Winterfest Karlie Bradbury; Junior Miss Winterfest Julie Horvath and Miss Winterfest Cheyenne Fischbach.
“I am so proud of each and every one of the girls who came up here tonight and participated,” Harting said. “It takes a lot of courage to be in front of so many people, and they all did beautifully. Truly, they are all winners.”
Winterfest will be held today. The event includes indoor and outdoor activities no matter the weather. For more information and a total schedule of events visit www.genevaohio.com.